The One Secret to Living 100+ Years

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

One Hundred Years 1080X675 1 | The One Secret To Living 100+ Years

Want the secret to living to be 100-years-old (plus) and aging well?

Research has confirmed it all comes down to one thing: Sugar. (And not consuming it).

According to cardiologist and researcher, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, of the U.K., his latest research of the “healthiest people in the world” in Pioppia, Italy reveals that Pioppians:

  1. Don’t count calories, avoid fat or buy special d**iet foods
  2. Eat healthy fats every day
  3. Consume lots of leafy greens
  4. Drink red wine daily
  5. Take long, leisure breaks during the work day for lunch
  6. Don’t go to the gym, but are consistently “on the go” and live daily active lives
  7. And limit sugar intake to strictly once a week—typically on Sunday’s

They even eat pasta and pizza a handful of times each month, but the majority of their food comes from (you guessed it) real food.

As a result of the Pioppian “way of life,” many residents live to be 100 and have little to no risk of ever having diabetes. Pioppi is known as the “home of the Mediterranean diet”—defined by not fearing fat, but limiting intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.

The bottom line? Nutrition—not exercise, not even sleep (while still important)—is the biggest game changer for health over all.


Unfortunately, if you live in America, the cards are stacked against you (and I).

Sugar is everywhere—even when it’s not a Hershey’s candy bar and masked as “healthy:”

  • Salad Dressings
  • Mayo
  • Deli Meats
  • Granola Bars
  • Yogurt with Blueberries: 26 grams
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • “Protein” Smoothies
  • Protein & Energy Bars (Lara Bars, Kind Bars, Luna Bars, Clim Bars, etc.)
  • Coconut Water
  • Almond Milk
  • Some Green Juices
  • Canned Vegetables or Beans
  • Frozen Dinners:
  • Sauces and condiments
  • Kombuchas: 12+ grams in some brands
  • Paleo Cookies

Note: Just because the label says “natural cane sugar” or “coconut sugar” does not mean it doesn’t have sugar

The maximum “recommended” daily dose for sugar intake as a whole is 25 grams or less—with most Americans exceeding that by 3 or 4 times, and consuming approximately 3-pounds per week.

Artificial sweeteners are not “any better” either—causing the same insulin and blood sugar response of sugar—with arguably even worse side effects (1, 2) than sugar (i.e. chronic headaches or migraines, constipation, bloating, heart palpitations and chest pains, etc.).

In addition, “short-term energy,” snack foods and refined or processed foods—like chips, popcorn, crackers, pasta, conventional breads, some grains, cereals, and oats—have a similar response in the body as sugar (even though “sugar” is not listed as a main ingredient on the label).

When we eat foods with a higher content of carbohydrates with little nutrient value (particularly refined carbohydrates or grains with ‘anti-nutrients’ on the shell—lectins and phytates in most grains) and eat a higher amount of those foods, the body gets a quick burst of energy and ‘stress response,’ spiking cortisol with a rise in blood sugar, only to come down…down…down…within a matter of 1-3 hours and need another “hit” (or snack) again.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Continual wear and tear on both our stress hormones and blood sugar levels then sets us up for many of the common diseases or imbalances seen in diabetes, hormonal imbalances (PMS, PCOS, amenorrhea), fatigue, adrenal dysfunction, inflammation and, of course, gut-related issues (our gut gets stressed).

The bottom line?

If you want to age well and “live long and prosper,” do as the Pioppians do for overall health—

  1. Become more mindful of sugar—and the sources you may be consuming it
  2. Eat healthy fats with every meal, along with moderate amounts of proteins, lots of fresh vegetables and leafy greens, and moderate amounts of fruits (1-2 servings/day) real-food starches, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, etc.
  3. And, keep an 80/20 perspective with other lifestyle habits. Exercise, but don’t stress out about it. Build community and spend time with people. Work hard, but don’t forget leisure and play. Drink wine if you must. And remind yourself that you CAN have your cake and eat it too!

Dr. Lauryn’s Thrive Challenge

Incorporate a healthy fat at each meal this week.

While you’re at it, see—just see—if you can go without sugar. At snacks reach for a fat or protein as well. (See fat ideas and snack ideas below)

(You can thank me later)

Healthy Fats

Healthy Fats

Reach for 1-2 with each meal!

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Goat’s Milk Butter
  • Grass-fed Goat’s Milk
  • Grass-fed butter & Ghee
  • Duck fat
  • Non-hydrogenated lard
  • Beef tallow
  • Coconut Milk/Cream (Canned)
  • Coconut Yogurt
  • Coconut butter
  • Coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Hemp oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
  • Palm Shortening
  • Palm Oil, Red Palm Oil
  • Olives
  • Full-fat grass-fed Dairy
  • Nitrate-free Organic Bacon
  • Pasture-raised Egg Yolks
  • Fatty Fish (Salmon, Sardines)
  • Fatty cut of organic meat
  • Raw nuts & seeds

Snack Ideas

*note: if you get really hungry between meals, it may also be an indicator that you’re not eating enough at meals; sometimes upping our fats and proteins, along with veggies and some starchy veggies, can help satisfy longer if energy is continually dipping

  • 1/2 Avocado + Sea Salt
  • Tomatoes + Grass-fed Goat Cheese + Hint of Basalmic Vinegar
  • Coconut Butter-1-2 spoonfuls
  • 1/2 Green Apple or Banana + Nutbutter or Coconut butter
  • Turkey/Beef Jerky
  • Equip Foods Protein Powder in Water, Coconut Milk or Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Leftover Protein
  • Kale “Chips”
  • Nitrate-Free Salami or Pepperoni + Guacamole
  • Primal Kitchen Bars
  • Coconut Yogurt, Full-fat Grass Fed Yogurt or Goats Milk Yogurt or Kefir
  • Homemade Plantain Chips with Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter + Cinnamon
  • Handful Raw Nuts or Seeds
  • Baby Carrots + Paleo Ranch
  • Celery + Sun-butter
  • Cucumber “Sandwiches” with Turkey or Ham + Grass-fed Cheese or Mayo
  • Tuna Packet or Canned Wild Salmon with Avocado-Oil Mayo
  • Avocado “Mouse” Pudding
  • 100% Dark Chocolate Square (Eating Evolved) + Cinnamon Tea

Banana-Sweetened Paleo Muffins (no added sweeteners)

  1. Tandel, K. R. (2011). Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, 2(4), 236–243.


  1. Bernardo, WM, Simões, RS, Buzzini, RF, Nunes, VM, & Glina, FPA. (2016). Adverse effects of the consumption of artificial sweeteners – systematic review. Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira, 62(2), 120-122.
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